Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Live By Night by Dennis Lehane

Prohibition, speakeasies, bank robberies, gangsters, mobsters, jail time, murders....LIVE BY NIGHT has it all. You will follow Joe Coughlin through his life as a privileged child, a gangster, and a mob boss.

Joe Coughlin is the son of Thomas Coughlin....the only problem is that Thomas is the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Police Department and his son is a criminal.  Joe feels he and his buddies are invincible, but he finds out they are not.  Joe has committed many robberies in his short life, but the last one did him in....he did jail time for this one.  He could have prevented jail time and a beating, but he had to see his "girl" before he left town. He should have just left town....she did him in and caused him trouble until the end.

This book is about the Roaring 20's and life on both sides of the law.  It is fast paced and lets you into that time period along with the characters.  You will see that you won't know if you are friend or enemy even if you are in with the gang you are a part of.  It is true to life and gives insight into how crime works behind the scenes.  It is not a pretty will be part of many mob killings and brutal scenes. 

The beginning is interesting but the ending is somewhat slow and a bit tedious.  It is not one of his better books...sometimes there is too much information, and the scenes seem to drag on.  I really lost my interest about half way through the book, but kept reading because I know Mr. Lehane is an outstanding author and kept that in mind as I aimlessly kept turning the pages. 

To his credit he has creative titles for each chapter with content that lives up to the chapter's heading.  He has expressive, descriptive writing as always that brings that particular event, feelings, or person alive, but it lacks connectivity.   At times, I was completely lost.  I do have to wonder what he was thinking when he wrote this book....I am disappointed.

Going to rate it a 3/5.

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher with no compensation in return for an honest review.


  1. What a disappointment - I was looking forward to this book.

  2. Any thoughts from anyone else if you read it?

  3. I love 1920s fiction, though I don't think I'd like the brutal scenes. This one's probably not for me either.

  4. I listened to the audio version of Lehane's book Coronado earlier this year and enjoyed it. I'll have to pick up a copy of Live by Night as it sounds interesting!

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